Reba, who is known worldwide by her first name, will be inducted in the "Modern Era Artist" category, while Shepard will be inducted in the "Veterans Era Artist" category. Braddock is the first inductee in the new "Songwriter" category, which is awarded every third year in a rotation with the "Recording and/or Touring Musician" and "Non-Performer" categories. Braddock, Reba, and Shepard will increase membership in the coveted Country Music Hall of Fame from 112 to 115 inductees.
"We are inducting royalty this year," said Steve Moore, CMA Chief Executive Officer. "Jean and Reba are two of Country Music's most revered queens, and Bobby Braddock is a king of songwriting. All three of them refused to follow the crowd; instead, creating their own unique paths. I cannot imagine what Country Music would be like today without these three talented individuals and all of their accomplishments. They each continue to inspire me with their latest performances, albums, compositions, and productions."
"When I think of my heroes who are in the Country Music Hall of Fame, I am truly humbled to know that I am being inducted," said Braddock. "I want to express my gratitude to the voters who feel that I am worthy of this great honor."
"This is a huge honor for me and something I've dreamed about since I was a little girl," said Reba. "When I was a young girl, we would take vacations to Nashville and tour the Country Music Hall of Fame. And now, for me to be inducted, is a dream come true."
"I have spent nearly 60 years doing something that I love, singing and promoting Country Music, and it's wonderful to see that my efforts haven't been in vain," said Shepard. "I am so grateful to CMA, the Country Music fans, and those that voted for me. I am honored and privileged to be in the company of the legendary members who came before me. I wish to thank the Hall of Fame, all of my fans, and Country Music for allowing me and my family to enjoy this most cherished tribute to my musical career."
Induction ceremonies for Braddock, Reba, and Shepard will take place at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum later this year. Since 2007, the Museum's Medallion Ceremony, an annual reunion of the Hall of Fame membership, has served as the official rite of induction for new members.
"As always, the announcement of new inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame is a red letter day," said Kyle Young, Director, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. "The 2011 class is particularly stunning, because the careers of Bobby Braddock, Jean Shepard and Reba McEntire represent an amazing rainbow of Country Music history. Their arc begins in Country Music's 1950s golden age, spans the remaining half of the 20th Century, and extends into the here and now, with no end in sight. Each had the courage of personal conviction; all created music that often spoke specifically to women, but also transcended gender to become universal; and each leaves a unique and indelible mark on Country Music's past, present and future."
CMA created the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961 to recognize noteworthy individuals for their outstanding contributions to the format with Country Music's highest honor.